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Pep Guardiola will be excited about Kelechi Iheanacho - Paul Dickov

Pep Guardiola will be thrilled at the prospect of working with young striker Kelechi Iheanacho, according to former Manchester City forward Paul Dickov.

The Bayern Munich boss will take over at the Etihad this summer and will be tasked with the job of turning big-money signings such as Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling into Champions League contenders.

But Dickov, who made 158 appearances for City between 1996 and 2002, believes the former Barcelona coach will also be looking forward to the opportunity of working with the club's youngsters -- with 19-year-old Iheanacho leading the way.

"Pep will be watching Iheanacho and will be excited about the prospect of managing him," Dickov told ESPN FC.

"I remember when Pep was at Barcelona, he got rid of Yaya Toure to bring a young Sergio Busquets in. At the time, people thought he was crazy to do it but it proved the right decision.

"All the youngsters at City now, with the way the club's going and the investment they've had in the academy, are starting to believe they'll get their chance. As much as they can go and buy the top players in the world, they want to bring through top talent as well."

Iheanacho has made the most of his opportunities in his debut season with the first team -- scoring eight goals from just six starts.

The Nigerian has forced his way into Manuel Pellegrini's Champions League squad at the expense of the injured Samir Nasri after being left out at the start of the season because of a limit on foreign players.

His most impressive performance was when he played as the lone striker in the 4-0 FA Cup fourth-round victory over Aston Villa in January when he scored a hat trick.

Indeed, Dickov was hugely impressed by his performance and says Iheanacho has the right attitude to go right to the top.

"I think he could be a top, top player," he said. "The thing I like the most is the humility he's got. For a young kid coming through, he scored his hat trick against Villa and when you listen to his interviews after, or any interviews he's done, he's very mature for his age off the pitch and it also shows on the pitch.

"I've played up front on my own and throughout my career and it's really difficult. For him to come into the team and play that lone striker role -- not just his goals, his all round play -- shows he has the making of a top player there.

"If you speak to people at the club they say he's a hard worker who wants to learn all the time and he's always asking questions. I've watched him playing at under-21 games over the last 18 months and you can tell he's a [good] player."

Current boss Pellegrini says he allowed forwards Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic to leave at the start of the season because of his confidence in Iheanacho and Dickov believes it was an astute decision.

"A lot of questions were asked about Manuel at the start of the season about why they didn't sign another striker. I know from within the club they felt they didn't have to because Kelechi was there and ready to go," he said.

"He's forced himself into the team. It's a massive confidence boost to pair him with Aguero for a Premier League match [against Sunderland] and he'll take that confidence in his stride as well."

Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.


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